When it happened against the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, it was easy to chalk it up to superior teams and superior talent. Now the Indiana Pacers are doing it, too.
Whenever an opponent needs a basket against the Cavs, they get it. Period. Whether it's a quick basket in transition, an open jumper off a pick-and-roll or a 3-pointer on the wing -- teams are scoring at will against the Cavs.
When Ramon Sessions scored to give the Cavs their first lead of the night -- and first lead in nearly 217 minutes -- it lasted exactly 11 seconds because Tyler Hansbrough got a quick basket at the other end to try a Q crowd that was trying to explode.
When the Cavs went up three with 3:32 left, the arena was rocking and it was beginning to feel like the good old days again, Danny Granger drew the foul and made both free throws, the Pacers forced J.J. Hickson into a bad jumper and Mike Dunleavy hit a 3-pointer at the other end. In 40 seconds, that lead became a deficit.
When Antawn Jamison tied the game with a running floater with 1:23 left, Darren Collison knocked down the 3-pointer within 15 seconds at the other end. The Pacers led the rest of the night.
It happened at New Jersey when the Cavs tied the game late on Joey Graham's 3-pointer. But Brook Lopez backed Ryan Hollins down in the post at the other end, while Hollins looked silly slapping Lopez on the back, and dropped the eventual game-winner over top of him.
For all the talk about refocusing on defense and improving the defensive effort, the Cavs' real problem is not getting a stop when they need it. It hasn't much at all this year, and it's a big reason why they can't win these games. Rarely these days are the Cavs even in position to win late in the fourth quarter. And when they are, opponents are scoring at will.
Twenty-two in a row. History comes Friday at Memphis.
Ramon Sessions 25 points, nine assists
Antawn Jamison 21 points, 5 of 14 shooting
Manny Harris 19 points, eight rebounds
Anthony Parker 17 points, four assists
Danny Granger 23 points, 5 of 13 shooting
Darren Collison 22 points, nine assists
Mike Dunleavy 15 points
The Cavs had the chance to take a lead in the final seconds, but Anthony Parker forced a jumper coach Byron Scott didn't want him to take. The Pacers sweated out the win from there.
A loss Friday at Memphis and the Cavs will tie the Vancouver Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets for the longest single-season losing streak in NBA history.
They said it
"Should've caught it. I thought it was going to come off the side when he laid it up. But at the last minute, I caught his eye, he caught mine. It was a tough pass, I just didn't catch it." -- J.J. Hickson, on the final pass from Ramon Sessions that bounced off his shoulder
The Cavs (8-41) play at Memphis at 8 p.m. on Friday.